TotalEnergies: climate activists invite themselves to a high-voltage general assembly

After BP and Shell, comes the turn of TotalEnergies: the French giant of hydrocarbons is preparing to live an electric general meeting Friday morning, targeted before its opening by scuffles between climate protesters and the police, while shareholders are also in disagreement with its climate policy.

The headquarters of TotalEnergies à la Défense in Paris (illustration image). © Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

Text by: RFI Follow


Read more

At dawn, dozens of climate protesters tried to enter the stretch of street passing in front of the Salle Pleyel in the beautiful Parisian neighborhoods. A dozen of them, who had sat in front of the entrance, were dislodged by the police and scuffles took place, noted an AFP journalist. Police used tear gas canisters to dislodge protesters.

"The police, slowly, we are doing this for your children" shout the environmental activists who are trying to prevent the holding of the AGM of TotalEnergies.
The security guards in the Salle Pleyel are violent with the demonstrators and with the press.

— Paul Larrouturou (@PaulLarrouturou) May 26, 2023

A coalition of NGOs called for the meeting to be blocked and dozens of activists are now sitting at the entrances to Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, chanting "what we want is to overthrow Total" and "one, two and three degrees, it is Total that we must thank".

« Total's AGM will not take place »

The meeting comes at the end of a season of stormy AGMs, where activists have multiplied actions against large groups, such as competitors Shell and BP or the bank Barclays, accused of financing the expansion of hydrocarbon projects. All against a backdrop of staggering profits: together, majors BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron and TotalEnergies posted more than $40 billion in profits this quarter, after a grandiose 2022.

In a sign of the expected tensions, TotalEnergies will ban shareholders and journalists from using their mobile phones, and will force them to leave certain personal belongings at the entrance. Above all, the group wants to avoid the chaotic scenario of last year when NGO activists prevented shareholders from entering the AGM.

The authorities expect the presence of 200 to 400 activists, who "absolutely want to prevent the holding of the GA", according to a police source.


Total's AGM will not take place," the signatories, Alternatiba, Friends of the Earth, ANV-COP21, Attac, Greenpeace, Scientists in Rebellion and XR immediately warned in a forum at the end of April. "This general assembly plans to perpetuate the strategy of the oil company: more fossil projects and an unfair distribution of superprofits that fuels climate and social injustice," they denounce.

Shareholders ask TotalEnergies to reduce its CO2 emissions

Some shareholders are also submitting proposals asking companies for more concrete commitments. For example, further reduce their investments in fossil fuels, or devote more money to the development of renewable energies.

OFI invest, the 5th largest asset manager in France, is not expected to block the meeting of TotalEnergies this Friday, nor join militant chants. But the investment fund proposed a resolution to ask the oil giant to stop investing in new fossil fuel exploration projects (i.e. gas, oil and coal).

Luisa Florez is specialized in responsible finance at OFI invest. For her, climate change is increasingly a financial risk for shareholders. "When you are building your savings, for example for your pensions, so we are talking about 10 years, 20 years or 30 years, it is certain that taking into account a climate dimension is almost as important as financial issues for any investor who looks at the long term," she explains.

The resolution is supported by a group of investors who represent 1.5% of TotalEnergies' shareholders, so it has no chance of being adopted. But the supermarket group Carrefour, which holds its general meeting this Friday, has for example taken over a climate resolution initially presented by a group of shareholders.

(With AFP


Newsletter Receive all the international news directly in your mailbox

I subscribe

Follow all the international news by downloading the RFI application

Read on on the same topics:

  • France
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Climate